Doctor explains Partially Collapsed Lung Recovery

Healthwise: Internist Audra Schwalk on collapsed lung recovery

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -If you watched the Texas Tech game against West Virginia this weekend, you know it was at the end of the first half that Red Raider quarterback Alan Bowman took a big hit, but walked off the field touching his chest.

Turns out he suffered a partially collapsed lung.

It's not uncommon to hear that diagnosis after a car accident or a shooting when something penetrates the chest wall and the lung partially deflates because air slips out.

But in the case of blunt trauma, like Bowman suffered on the football field, a partially collapsed lung like his could happen to someone who falls off a ladder.

Dr. Audra Schwalk, an internist and Texas Tech physician, adds the biggest difference in this situation is likely the recovery time. She explains that Alan Bowman has a lot in his favor. “So a partial collapse lung in someone who is healthy and pretty active is usually pretty quick. If the lung expands within a few days, and the body reabsorbs the air that's in there, then typically they can be back within a week or so to normal activities.”

Of course, the normal routine for a college quarterback is much different than the rest of us! She says his return to the field will depend on the amount of bruising and pain that he suffered. But she says it is a huge benefit that Bowman did not break any ribs because that can leave shards of bone in the chest and complicate recovery.

She says if Bowman is not in a lot of pain and if he is not requiring a lot of oxygen, a partial lung collapse can simply be monitored with chest x-rays until the lungs fully expand again.

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